Summer 2020
NY Coastlines / Currents
Vol. 48, No. 3 / Vol. 8, No. 4        
Welcome to New York Sea Grant's (NYSG) Summer 2020 New York Coastlines , our program's flagship electronic newsletter. You can also check out our archive at
In This Issue ...

top Letter from the Director

The last several weeks have been quite transformative, and have highlighted the need for positive systemic change across our Nation. We begin New York Sea Grant's (NYSG) Summer 2020 NY Coastlines with our staff's statement of solidarity with the call to action to end systemic racism; it also represents an affirmation of our commitment "to a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) through meaningful and intentional reflection and action with our staff and programming." This commitment is inward looking as well as outward facing to the diverse communities we have the privilege of working with across the State. DEI has been a long standing value and guiding principle for us, but we can do more. Within this statement you will find some actions we are taking, as well as a place to share your thoughts on how NYSG can best contribute to collective goals for DEI in our program and in the communities where we work and live.

Also in this edition are examples of how we have pivoted to online programming to meet the needs of our stakeholders and how we have been working with and supporting our coastal communities reopen and recover from COVID-19. We launched the "Staying Connected" set of webpages where online extension and education programming is available on topics from virtual visits for shoreline owners in need of erosion management expertise to resources for seafood and aquaculture industries. Also featured are "rapid response" activities supporting the tourism and recreational industries by providing resources that describe best practices for and encourage public compliance with safety guidelines. There is also information about our virtual summer seminar series highlighting work of Sea Grant supported researchers. These stories are just the tip of the iceberg of the extension, education, and research activities you will find herein. Enjoy!

--- Becky Shuford, NYSG's Director

New York Sea Grant's Solidarity Statement
NYSG stands in solidarity with the call-to-action to end systemic racism. NYSG is an organization that is deeply rooted in the diversity and complexity of coastal communities, partners, and constituencies across New York State. We are committed to a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion through meaningful and intentional reflection and action with our staff and programming. Read on >>

Staying Connected:
Information for NYSG's Stakeholders

Visit for the full list of information gathered that businesses, educators, landowners and other NYSG stakeholders can use during these times.

... and for additional information and advice related to safe practices in other U.S. coastal environments, see the National Sea Grant College Program's " Safety First: Tips for a Safe Summer from Sea Grant," which gathers efforts from Sea Grant programs across the nation.

Highlights include ...

Beach Safely
COVID-19 brings more considerations beyond the usual beach safety messaging. A new summer-long social media campaign helps to remind beachgoers to stay safe and have fun! Read on >>

For Hire Industry
NYSG is providing NYS's saltwater and freshwater marine industry for-hire boating sector with a series of decals to encourage public compliance with boating-specific COVID-19 safety precautions. Read on >>
Boating in NY in 2020

Boating safety has a new COVID-19-related element now.

Review the extra precautions boaters can take on Long Island as well as NY's Great Lakes.

Also: Tips for Boating and Marine Trades Business Management During COVID-19

Included is a Guide to Operating Your Boat Business Safely (pdf). In mid-May, the Marine Retailers Association of the Americas, along with trade association partners from across the marine industry, released this 58-page publication aimed at helping boat businesses operate safely in a new marketplace concerned with the COVID-19 health crisis.

Redesigned NY Invasive Species Clearinghouse Helps
Watercraft Inspection Programs

NYSG has enhanced access and added resources to the redesigned New York State Invasive Species Clearinghouse website to support New York's watercraft inspection steward programs as well as water enthusiasts including recreational boaters. Read on >>

Virtual Visits for Great Lakes Shoreline Owners

Waterfront property owners in need of erosion management expertise can request a no-cost virtual site visit by NYSG. Read on >>

Seafood and Aquaculture Industry Resources

NYSG continues to update its series of links for COVID-19 information and updates as well as general food, seafood and aquaculture industry resources.

Also available are some free, customizable resources that NYSG has developed in collaboration with the National Aquaculture Association to assist in branding and marketing your seafood products and dishes:

And: When many fishermen, farmers and distributors began shifting to online deliveries in early spring to help get healthy seafood to Americans, the Seafood Nutrition Partnership offered ways you can support these local businesses.
For those in Suffolk County, NY, visit Choose Local F.I.S.H. to find out which markets are open for pick-up or are delivering directly to you. Those in NY residing outside Suffolk County can ask their local fishmonger or grocer for U.S. fished and farmed seafood.

Long Island Sound and Great Lakes BioBlitz Events

In mid-late June, New Yorkers took part in a free " Long Island Sound Coastal Bioblitz."

They participated because their assistance was in need: Invasive species are one of the most serious threats to Long Island's ecosystems, including those around Long Island Sound. But with group monitoring efforts being canceled this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, citizen scientists are especially needed to help find and identify species across different Long Island habitats.

Through this LIS Coastal Bioblitz, participants contributed to monitoring biodiversity and finding invasives via the iNaturalist app while remaining socially distant.

Residents from Queens and Northern Long Island region explored their nearby coastal habitats ---beaches, marshes, ponds, creeks --all while having fun taking pictures and logging the species around them.

In late April - late May, NYSG also took part in promoting a " Great Lakes Bioblitz," which took place on the entire Great Lakes Basin (U.S.) and Ontario, happened in yards and other outdoor spaces that respected the stay home and social distancing practices required at this time.

During this month-long event, which started on Earth Day, New York's educators, families, and students found and identified over 56,000 wild, living things via the iNaturalist app.

Long Island Sound Mentor Teacher Training Program

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Long Island Sound Mentor Teacher (LISMT) program has been canceled. Applicants from the 2020 round will be allowed revisions to their current submissions next year and will be evaluated for the 2021 LISMT program.

As detailed in a recent impact statement, this program provides educators with a platform, resources, and support to create and lead professional development workshops for other educators. The workshops are built around Long Island Sound subjects to equip educators to share lessons and hands-on activities about the Sound that can be included in existing curricula.
In lieu of the 2020 LISMT workshops, the Long Island Sound Study (LISS) will be sharing other online resources and hosting webinars around different Long Island Sound topics. If you are interested in leading a webinar or want to be included in the LISS's educator mailing list to find out about upcoming opportunities, reach out to Jimena at

What's Trending

Research Seminar Series

This summer, NYSG has launched a virtual research seminar series, with talks offered via Zoom as well as live on Facebook:

In late June, Dr. Christopher Gobler from Stony Brook University's School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences kicked things off with a discussion on harmful algal blooms (HABs) --- For 35 years, brown tides have been plaguing Long Island estuaries and multiple hypotheses have been put forth to explain the occurrence of these events.

You can view this seminar via the "Research Seminars" site above or NYSG's YouTube channel.
Additionally, NYSG, the Suffolk County Department of Health and their partners are asking for your help to document this season's occurrences of HABs in New York's marine waters:

These data are used as guidance to make decisions to promote public health and safety during times when HABs are most active.

Coming up, the seminar series will feature discussions on ...

Beach safety: Using virtual reality to simulate rip currents
( July 23rd: Dr. Jase Bernhardt, Hofstra University)

Rip currents, which are narrow channels of fast-moving seawater that pull swimmers away from the shore, kill around 100 beachgoers each year according to the United States Lifesaving Association. On average, 80% of all lifeguard rescues at surf beaches can be attributed to rip currents.


On YouTube: Using Virtual Reality to Learn How to Escape a Rip Current Read on >> 

NYSG Provides Fact Sheet, Other Resources to Avoid Rip Currents Read on >>

Great Lakes water levels: Community preparedness for Lake Ontario communities ( August 20th: Dr. Scott Steinschneider, Cornell University, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences)
An interactive story map highlighting 2017's Lake Ontario Water Level Impacts is now available. See where the water came from, county breakdowns on impacts from inundation and erosion as well as learn what respondents experienced in other areas of their lives and see links to other helpful Lake Ontario water level resources.

NYSG's Coastal Community Development Program provides additional "Resources" on both " High Water Impact Surveying" and " Tools."

This includes New York's Great Lakes Coastal Resilience Index (CRI) and Interacting Mapping Tools.

Hudson-Mohawk watershed: Dam removal/Reconnecting waters for eels and river herring ( September 24th: Dr. Karin E. Limburg and Kayla Smith, SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry)
This research focuses on working with community groups to determine "barriers and bridges" to dam removal in order to restore historic diadromous fish runs. These species, which spend portions of their life cycles partially in both fresh and saltwater, include river herring and the American eel.

See NYSG's most recent " Research Results and Impacts" one-pager for brief summary of this study (as well, among others, the impacts of plastic pollution to our coastlines and waters as well as climate change and ocean acidification on aquatic organisms).

research #Research

Microplastics: Under the Microscope

For years people have worried about the environmental impacts from plastics left behind in the oceans and Great Lakes. More recently, though, projects like one funded by New York Sea Grant (a team of scientists led by Sherri "Sam" Mason of Penn State Erie, the Behrend College) have brought attention to microplastics, small plastic particles that have found their way into our waterways.

Investigators sought to answer a few key questions: How long does it take for common plastics to degrade in the water? What pollutants might be hitchhiking on the outer surfaces of these circulating, cast-off polymers?

Tiny organisms in the water eating plastic: Could it harm us all? Read on >>

Plastics floating in the water: What are the risks? Read on >>

On YouTube: Plastics --- "We're The Problem, But We're The Solution. Be The Change" Read on >>

Electronically Monitoring Salmon
Could Help Us To Better Understand Them

Thanks to data from sensor tags, a team of ecologists led by Cornell University investigators James Watkins and Lars Rudstam have collected months-long records of individual fish swimming of king salmon in Lake Ontario from Oswego, New York to distant locations, such as the shores of Canada and several connecting streams and rivers.

The investigation comes at an interesting time for the dynamic fisheries industry in the Great Lakes, valued at $4-7 billion. Read on >>

New York Ocean Research
$570,000 in research grants---awarded to three investigative teams including researchers from Stony Brook University, CUNY York College, and the Wildlife Conservation Society---support New York's Ocean Action Plan. Read on >>

New York Ocean is a collaborative effort of NYS Department of Environmental Conservation and NYSG. 

extension #Extension

Coastal Resiliency as Hurricane Season Begins

An eight-page NYSG marine coastal processes booklet, Shoreline Management on Long Island, completes a trilogy of resiliency publications. More at

For the Atlantic and Central Pacific, hurricane season started June 1st. We've already experienced a couple of named storms, and the NOAA seasonal hurricane outlook leans toward above-average activity for 2020. More at

There's also video and audio from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) / U.S. National Weather Service (NWS)'s late May's hurricane outlook.

For late-breaking hurricane watches and warnings this season, bookmark or, on your mobile devices, and
You can also follow the NOAA NWS National Hurricane Center on Twitter at @NHC_Atlantic and NOAA's NWS at @NWS.

Other resources to help prepare for the season include ...
2020 National Hurricane Preparedness Week
Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Hurricane Season Preparedness

Federal Emergency Management Agency's resources

High Tide Flooding
For a visual summary in under four minutes of high tide flooding --- how our ocean tides influence them and how they impact New York's coastal communities --- check out our fast draw video, a partnership product with the Science and Resilience Institute at Jamaica Bay. Read on >>

Yellow Perch & Barotrauma
An illustrated fact sheet and video set help anglers address a condition that can occur in yellow perch caught from Lake Erie's deep waters. Read on >>

Lake Erie supports one of the world's largest freshwater commercial fisheries.

Lake Sturgeon Restoration
Help NYSG in its Disney Conservation Fund outreach and education project to support recovery efforts for Lake Sturgeon, a prehistoric freshwater fish listed as a NY threatened species despite being one of the world's longest living fish. Read on >>

New York Seafood Summit
A new story map highlights the New York Seafood Summit, which was started in 2016 to highlight seafood efforts across New York and provide an opportunity for cross sector collaboration. Read on >>

The summit serves as a platform to convene a group of enthusiastic professionals with vested interest in seafood, in order to build active communications between the various sectors of the NY Seafood Industry.  

NY's Maritime Heritage
The evolution of recreational boating in New York State is a featured theme on the H. Lee White Maritime Museum of Oswego "Virtual Exhibit Experience." Read on >>

This online maritime heritage resource is a spinoff of NYS maritime-related educational exhibitry and programming developed by a multi-partner collaborative coordinated by NYSG for use at the Great New York State Fair from 2014 through 2019.  

education #Education

Educators: Register for Long Island Sound Webinar

The Long Island Sound Study (LISS) will host a Zoom webinar on Tuesday, August 18 at 10 am on the effect of climate change on coastal marshes and the ecosystem services they provide.
The webinar will be led by UConn wetland and plant ecologist Dr. Beth Lawrence, who will be discussing her team's research, and Smithtown High School teacher Kimberly "Ly" Williams, who collaborated with Lawrence to create an educational module based on her work.

Register for this free webinar, which is hosted by the LISS through its partners the New England Interstate Water Pollution Control Commission and NYSG. Register >>

On YouTube: "Let's Science That": Brentwood High School
Students Turn to Podcasts During Pandemic

"'Let's Science That!' is the student's response to distance learning efforts in science research in the age of the COVID-19 pandemic," said Rebecca Grella, Ph.D., Brentwood Union Free School District. "The students wanted to showcase their research and artistic efforts and have their voices heard." Read on >>

LIS Marine Debris Reduction
The Marine Debris Action Plan for Long Island Sound, led by Sea Grant programs in New York and Connecticut, is one of eight projects awarded funding through NOAA's Sea Grant-Marine Debris Special Projects Competition. Read on >>

Winning Solutions4Pollution
Students were asked by the Port Jefferson Flotilla of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary to submit concepts for reducing trash in Long Island's waterways and beaches with a focus on the LI Sound and its associated harbors. Read on >>

You and the Ocean

New York's ocean is an important resource for all New Yorkers ---not just those on the coast. The ocean provides us all with a means of travel, recreation, food, medicine, and has a substantial impact on our economy and even the air we breathe.

Learn more about this important environment on which we all rely with New York Ocean, a collaborative effort between the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and NYSG.


Fact Sheet: New York Ocean ( pdf)

Fact Sheet: Marine Debris ( pdf)
How does trash get into the ocean? What are its impacts? What can I do to help? Learn about marine debris & what we can do about it.

Fact Sheet: Marine Wildlife of New York ( pdf)
Interested in the marine mammals that call New York home? Want to see them in the wild? Check out New York Ocean's new fact sheet on marine mammals and viewing wildlife responsibly

Great Lakes GLEEE
Patrick Creamer, an Intermediate Science Teacher in New York's Niagara County, has been named 2020's Great Lakes Model Educator. Creamer is part of a community of educators with the common goal of promoting Great Lakes literacy and stewardship in K-12 classrooms and environmental programs throughout NY's Great Lakes Basin. Read on >>

Earth Day at 50
As we celebrated five decades of Earth Day this past April, NYSG joined NOAA, its federal parent agency, to examine some of its education programs that are making a measurable difference for the environment. We offer a sampling of examples that our program has supported in recent years to assist a variety of New York's coastal communities. Read on >>

Partner News

NOAA National Weather Service:
#SummerSafety Campaign

On June 1st, the first day of meteorological summer, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service (NWS) launched its seasonal #SummerSafety Campaign. NOAA is Sea Grant's federal parent agency.

Some key messages included in the summer campaign are as follows:

"What Does Weather-Ready Look Like?" is the theme for the new suite of infographics, which gives examples of people taking preparedness actions for a variety of weather hazards.

This year, more than ever it seems, it is important for people to get outside and enjoy the outdoors. However, spending more time outdoors increases the vulnerability to hazardous weather. Help spread potentially lifesaving information found on our summer safety website. We encourage you to download our infographics, use our social media content for your purposes, and serve as an example for others.

The campaign now features a social media plan dedicated entirely to safety materials for the deaf and hard of hearing.

Join NOAA, NWS, the National Sea Grant College Program and almost 9,000 fellow Weather-Ready Nation Ambassadors this summer by helping communities become ready, responsive, and resilient to extreme weather.

"Be a Force of Nature" and follow the Weather-Ready Nation team on Twitter at @WRNAmbassadors.

NYSDEC's Interactive Shellfish and
Seaweed Aquaculture Viewer

New York and Connecticut's Shellfish and Seaweed ArcGIS-based Aquaculture Viewer, an online story map, was recently released by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (Division of Water, Region 1).

This new virtual offering, available via the Long Island Sound Study website, provides spatial information for all of New York's Marine and Coastal District and Connecticut's Coastal Area to assist prospective, new, or current aquaculture growers in siting new or expanding shellfish and seaweed operations.

The online map offers detailed information on natural resources, environmental conditions, navigation, regulatory requirements, and potential use conflicts, which cumulatively aid in the identification of potential locations for shellfish and seaweed farms.

The tool is designed to provide information to help potential shellfish and seaweed growers and other users of the coastal area assess conditions based on existing datasets and help identify potential risks and long-term suitability for particular areas.

Resource managers, program managers, and other stakeholders will be able to utilize this tool for future decision making regarding bioextraction (the cultivation and harvest of shellfish and/or seaweed for the purpose of nutrient removal) and the role it can play in reducing nitrogen in the Long Island Sound and the South Shore Estuary of Long Island.

In Other NYSG News

NYSG's Currents News Archives   (Vol. 8, No. 4)

Keep tabs on NYSG's news in between issues of
NY Coastlines / Currents via our Web site ( and blog (

Here's a sampling of other stories that have made waves recently in the media, on our social media platforms (, and
via our site's News,, and topic-based News Archives

    NYSG Extension and Education > Rapid Response to COVID-19

  • In Media: New York Sea Grant's Rapid Response to COVID-19 (July 2020) Read on >>
  • On YouTube: NYSG Offers Decals to Help Make Charter Boating Safer (July 2020) Read on >>
  • On YouTube: How to Enjoy Lake Activities Responsibly During a Pandemic (July 2020) Read on >>
  • On YouTube: Boating Safety Tips for 4th of July Weekend and Beyond (June 2020) Read on >>
  • On YouTube: Discover Better Boating: Transient Boating on the St. Lawrence River (June 2020) Read on >>
  • On YouTube: Discover Better Boating: Staying Safe and Secure While on the Water (May 2020) Read on >>
  • On Air: NYSG's Boating Resources Encourage a Summer of Socially Responsible Boating (May 2020) Read on >>
  • On YouTube: Feeling Cooped Up? New York Sea Grant Says, "Go boating" (May 2020) Read on >>
  • On YouTube: Make Boating an Extension of Your Home During COVID-19 (May 2020) Read on >>

  • NYSG Extension and Education > Great Lakes Waters

    Coastal Erosion

  • On YouTube: New York Sea Grant's Virtual Shoreline Project (June 2020) Read on >>
  • On Air: NYSG Offers Virtual Site Visits to Great Lakes Shoreline Owners for Erosion Management Help (May 2020) Read on >>
    Clean & Safe Boating
  • On YouTube: Sea Grant Supports Its 12th Consecutive Summer of Clean and Safe Boating (October 2019) Read on >>

  • NYSG Extension and Education > Marine Waters

  • On YouTube: Discussing High Tide Flooding with NYC Students on BioBus Virtual Town Hall (July 2020) Read on >>
  • In Media: Musings on Marine Debris (May 2020) Read on >>
  • In Media: Sea Grant Coordinates Marine Debris Action Plan for Long Island Sound (April 2020) Read on >>
  • In Media: Baiting the Community --- Group Aids East River Fishing (October 2019) Read on >>

  • NYSG Funded Projects > Research

  • In Media: SBU Researcher Discusses Clam Genome Project (May-June 2020) Read on >>
  • In Media: Rochester Institute of Technology Researchers Receive Grant to Study Microplastic Pollution in Lake Ontario (May 2020) Read on >>  

About NY Coastlines / Currents and New York Sea Grant

Sea Grant is a national network of 34 university-based programs whose research, extension and outreach programs promote better understanding, conservation and use of America's coastal resources. New York Sea Grant (NYSG) has been "Bringing Science to the Shore" since 1971 as a joint program of the State University of New York (SUNY) and Cornell University.

New York Coastlines
is a product of NYSG project C/PC-13 funded under award NA18OAR4170096 granted to the Research Foundation of SUNY on behalf of NYSG from the National Sea Grant College Program of the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

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For an archive of all articles featured in this and previous issues:
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New York Sea Grant Administration & Research
125 Nassau Hall / Stony Brook University / Stony Brook, NY 11794-5001
E: / P: 631.632.6905

New York Sea Grant Administration & Extension
112 Rice Hall / Cornell University / Ithaca, NY 14853-5601
E: / P: 607.255.2386

For a list of NYSG's offices and staff, visit
New York Sea Grant provides equal opportunities in employment and programming.